In 2011 the German pharmaceutical company Bayer decided to establish its Northern European headquarters in Espoo, southern Finland, serving Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The move was part of a larger reorganisation aiming to reduce complexity and create synergies within the administrative functions to prepare the company for future business growth within the region.
There were many factors going in Finland’s favour and Bayer was not just thinking about corporate tax rates, says Oliver Rittgen, Managing Director, Bayer Nordic SE, in a recent interview with the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. One major reason for locating the regional headquarters in Finland was the company’s existing pharmaceutical factory in the city of Turku. Finland also offered highly skilled employees and a long history in extensive clinical trials.
Thriving R&D operations in Finland
Bayer’s fourth largest R&D unit is also located in Finland. “Last year we conducted research and product development worth EUR 50 million in Finland. We have developed about 600 patents here and there are about 250 patents pending,” says Rittgen.
Bayer currently employs 800 people in Finland and has recently hired 50 new staff. Bayer’s factory in Turku specializes in contraceptive solutions for developing countries. The Mirena contraceptive device had sales of EUR 680 million last year, and is only produced in Turku. The Finnish factory is producing medicines that are exported to more than 100 countries.
Sources: Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki Business Hub